Three Cheers for Homework
Vanessa Gai
By Vanessa Gai
High School Math Teacher  
October 29, 2018  
As a high school math teacher of 14 years I cannot remember a time that my students cheered when I gave homework – until recently. Forest Ridge is a 5-12th grade school, so I had the opportunity to teach three classes middle school Math class and the girls jumped for joy when I told them they were getting homework. What has changed I wonder? I posed this question to both middle and high school students.   
The 5th and 6th grade girls relayed to me that they want to feel “older,” that “they don’t have anything to do,” and, my favorite response, “I love math!” While the High School students I talked to replied to my question differently with “I have been doing homework as long as I can remember, it is just part of my life” and “sometimes it is just busy work.”   
I can relate to these different perspectives from my time in high school and college. We are passionate about some subjects and others we are just trying to check a box. This small “experiment” – a focus group of sorts – reminded me how important it is to make math relevant! As a teacher, I want to be sure that homework is relevant and not just “busy work.” Taking cues from my students and how I inspire the individual classes I get year-to-year is my challenge. I strive to be strategic about what is taught and how much homework is being assigned. I also try to connect the math to the students’ lives.  
I believe that the love for math is contagious. Get ready girls!
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